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What Now?! – 11/12/2020

President Trump met today with top advisers to discuss the post-election path forward, NBC News reports. “There is a growing expectation among President Trump’s advisers that he will never concede that he lost re-election, even after votes are certified in battleground states over the coming weeks,” NBC News reports. Said one aide: “Do not expect him to concede.” More likely, the aide said: “He’ll say something like, ‘We can’t trust the results, but I’m not contesting them.’”

Wall Street Journal: “Trump advisers have grown more vocal in conversations with Mr. Trump in recent days that they don’t see a path to victory, even if his legal efforts meet some success, a White House official said, though some advisers have continued to tell the president he still has a shot. An official said Mr. Trump understands that the fight isn’t winnable but characterized his feelings as: ‘Let me have the fight.’”

Washington Post: “Trump aides, advisers and allies said there is no grand strategy to reverse the election results.”

“President Trump made his first public appearance in six days Wednesday when he visited Arlington National Cemetery for a somber ceremony commemorating Veterans Day alongside first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. He did not speak at the event,” CNN reports.

“But as he mounts a fierce battle to remain in office and refuses to concede the election he lost, Trump has shown little interest in the work of being President. Since he vowed to fight the election results in the wee hours after Election Day, Trump, who has spent four years producing television moments showcasing his office, has made few efforts to show the American people he is still governing.”

“Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump’s portrait of a fraudulent election,” the New York Times reports.

President-elect Joe Biden will name Ron Klain, a veteran Democratic operative and a decades-long confidant, to be his White House chief of staff as early as Thursday morning, the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Klain, a lawyer with deep experience on Capitol Hill, advising President Barack Obama and in corporate board rooms, has been seen for months as the most likely choice to manage Mr. Biden’s team in the White House. Known for steady nerves, he is well versed as a tactician in the levers of power in both the executive and legislative branches. And he has a fierce wit, which he has frequently unleashed on President Trump on Twitter.”

“There were just over 59,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the United States on Monday, the country’s highest number ever of in-patients being treated for the disease, as new infections at record levels for the sixth consecutive day,” Reuters reports.

Washington Post: “As a worrisome summer gives way to a harrowing fall, the nation’s surge of coronavirus cases shows no signs of easing. With little help and scant guidance from a Washington stuck in political limbo, some states and localities rushed to put in place new restrictions aimed at slowing the virus’s spread. Still, almost every metric appeared headed in an ominous direction.”

“On Tuesday, the country hit another one-day record, logging more than 135,000 new coronavirus cases, along with 1,403 additional deaths. At least five states, including Missouri and Wisconsin, set single-day highs for fatalities. At least five more, including Illinois and Pennsylvania, set single-day highs for new cases. Almost nowhere in the country are caseloads actually subsiding.”

Dr. Scott Atlas, one of President Trump’s chief coronavirus advisers, publicly attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday — accusing the nation’s top infectious disease expert of being a “political animal” who adjusted his dire assessments of the pandemic after Election Day, Politico reports.

“Another person who attended an election night event at the White House has tested positive for the coronavirus,” the New York Times reports. “The latest person is the White House political director, Brian Jack.”

“Fear over losing the Senate majority by falling short in the upcoming runoff elections for two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia has become a driving and democracy-testing force inside the GOP, with party leaders on Tuesday seeking to delegitimize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as they labored to rally voters in the state,” the Washington Post reports.

“Those intertwined efforts threaten to disrupt Biden’s hopes of establishing a smooth transition as Republicans in Washington and Georgia, worried about dispiriting the president’s core supporters, increasingly echo his unfounded claims of election fraud and back his refusal to concede.”

“President Trump’s newly installed acting Pentagon chief is bringing on a senior adviser in a sign the administration wants to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East before the end of his presidency in January,”  Axios reports.

“A senior administration official says a wave of firings at the Pentagon and the hiring of Ret. Army Col. Douglas Macgregor is in part a settling of Trump’s personal scores — but senior White House officials also have made clear ‘they want them more publicly to talk about getting out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.’”

“President Trump’s senior military and intelligence officials have been warning him strongly against declassifying information about Russia that his advisers say would compromise sensitive collection methods and anger key allies,” the Washington Post reports.

“An intense battle over this issue has raged within the administration in the days before and after the Nov. 3 presidential election. Trump and his allies want the information public because they believe it would rebut claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin supported Trump in 2016. That may sound like ancient history, but for Trump it remains ground zero — the moment when his political problems began.”

“CIA Director Gina Haspel last month argued strongly at a White House meeting against disclosing the information, because she believed that doing so would violate her pledge to protect sources and methods.”

Joseph Stiglitz: “The Trump administration has a dirty little secret: It’s not just planning to increase taxes on most Americans. The increase has already been signed, sealed and delivered, buried in the pages of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

“President Trump and his congressional allies hoodwinked us. The law they passed initially lowered taxes for most Americans, but it built in automatic, stepped tax increases every two years that begin in 2021 and that by 2027 would affect nearly everyone but people at the top of the economic hierarchy. All taxpayer income groups with incomes of $75,000 and under — that’s about 65 percent of taxpayers — will face a higher tax rate in 2027 than in 2019.”

“Wisconsin lawmakers plan to issue their first subpoenas in decades as part of an investigation into the Nov. 3 election, even as the top Republican in the Assembly acknowledges the probe is unlikely to change the outcome,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. “The move comes as supporters of President Trump grapple with a narrow loss in a state they won four years ago by a sliver.”

“As in other states, Wisconsin Republicans are alleging voter fraud but so far are not providing evidence of widespread problems that would take away President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) told Fox Business that President Trump is “very, highly unlikely” to win enough of the still-uncounted ballots in Arizona to defeat President-elect Joe Biden.

And there is no evidence so far that Arizona’s votes were tainted by fraud or other irregularities that would affect the election.

“Pennsylvania’s chief election officer announced on Tuesday that around 10,000 ballots were received between the close of polls on Election Day and the evening of Nov. 6 — a number far too small to undermine President-elect Joe Biden’s margin of victory in a critical battleground state,” Politico reports.

A lawyer for President Trump told a judge that he was not alleging voter fraud or improper influence in Pennsylvania.

“A stack of messages from foreign leaders to President-elect Joe Biden are sitting at the State Department but the Trump administration is preventing him from accessing them,” CNN reports.

“Traditionally, the State Department supports all communications for the President-elect, which is why many countries began sending messages to State over the weekend. But with Biden prohibited from accessing State Department resources by the Trump administration, because President Trump refuses to accept Biden’s victory, dozens of incoming messages have not been received.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) told KRMG that if President-elect Joe Biden doesn’t have access to intelligence briefings by Friday then he will get involved.

Said Lankford: “I can assure you there will be a peaceful transition of power in the United States.”

Benjamin Wittes: “And so it has come to this: the president of the United States is trying to overturn the results of a national election he unambiguously lost with a combination of petulant whining, spiteful and flailing executive action, and magic.”

“No, it’s not ultimately going to work, at least not if working is defined as allowing President Trump to maintain power in the face of expressed voter will.”

“But it is working better than I would have believed possible: in undermining confidence in American democratic processes, in damaging President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to govern in the short term, and in raising questions in the minds of the faithful as to whether Trump’s defeat was real.”

One of President Trump’s top evangelical Christian allies, Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, broke ranks Wednesday with the president’s refusal to conceded defeat, calling Joe Biden the president-elect, the Dallas Morning News reports.

While he said it’s “a bitter pill, it’s reality and Christians must not be hypocrites, but rather support and pray for Joe Biden as new president.”

“After years of preaching that world leaders must swiftly abide the verdicts of voters, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has settled on the opposite message at home,” NBC News reports.

“Pompeo has called for a peaceful transition of power and free and fair elections in countless foreign countries, including just this week in Myanmar. Yet the secretary is now also suggesting President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. election could be reversed through legal action to award President Donald Trump another four years.”

Politico: “It will be nearly impossible for Republicans to alter the outcome or prevent Biden from taking office. Counting all the states where he currently leads in voting, Biden has 306 electoral votes. In Michigan, Biden’s lead at the moment is more than 10 times larger than Trump’s winning margin was there in 2016. To date, Trump’s campaign has yet to produce evidence in any state of the kind of widespread ballot fraud the president alleges.”

“Yet one week after the election, there is no sign any of that is sinking in. Instead, the controversy seems to be metastasizing within GOP circles, as the party unites behind an idea that threatens to distract Washington and state capitals for weeks amid an ongoing pandemic and a looming transition of government.”

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) told WTAE that he believes the White House should start cooperating with the Biden presidential transition team.

Said Toomey: “We’re on a path it looks likely Joe Biden is going to be the next president of the United States. It’s not 100% certain but it is quite likely. So I think a transition process ought to begin.”

The Biden transition team is officially reaching out to Democratic lawmakers, telling them that President-elect Biden is eager “to seize this transition period to get started,” Axios reports.

“The transition is signaling that it wants to work with congressional offices and draw on their expertise — and personnel — to implement Biden’s agenda.”

“As president, Donald Trump selectively revealed highly classified information to attack his adversaries, gain political advantage and to impress or intimidate foreign governments, in some cases jeopardizing U.S. intelligence capabilities. As an ex-president, there’s every reason to worry he will do the same, thus posing a unique national security dilemma for the Biden administration,” the Washington Post reports.

“All presidents exit the office with valuable national secrets in their heads, including the procedures for launching nuclear weapons, intelligence-gathering capabilities — including assets deep inside foreign governments — and the development of new and advanced weapon systems.”

“But no new president has ever had to fear that his predecessor might expose the nation’s secrets as President-elect Joe Biden must with Trump, current and former officials said. Not only does Trump have a history of disclosures, he checks the boxes of a classic counterintelligence risk: He is deeply in debt and angry at the U.S. government, particularly what he describes as the ‘deep state’ conspiracy that he believes tried to stop him from winning the White House in 2016 and what he falsely claims is an illegal effort to rob him of reelection.”

Wall Street Journal: “Facebook told the advertisers it is continuing to ‘temporarily pause’ all ads on social issues, electoral or political ads in the U.S. for another month, though it may lift sooner.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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